7 Best Job Search Methods to Land a Job Abroad
Updated: Jun 19
In today's digital age, it feels like a job search starts and ends with online job applications.
Sure, online applications are great. They offer convenience and access to countless jobs from the comfort of your home. But if you want to land a job abroad, there are alternative and often overlooked job search methods that can be just as effective—if not more so. In fact, you may be missing out on some of the best job opportunities by relying on online applications alone.
So how exactly can you get a job abroad if not through online job applications? From leveraging your network of contacts to attending virtual or in-person events, these seven job search methods will help you find success in the global job market:
Read on to find out how to apply these job search methods and land a job abroad.
Method #1: Exploring internal job opportunities
Do you work at an international company? If so, start there! Make the move abroad easier for yourself by exploring opportunities for an internal company transfer.
Even if the company doesn't offer official international transfers, don’t be afraid to ask around. Take a look at the career section in the company's website and check out what's available in other countries. As an internal candidate, you sure have a competitive edge so take advantage of this option.
Here are a few HR tips to boost your chances even more:
Avoid any awkward situations by informing your manager about your intention to apply for another role internally.
When you find a role you're interested in, reach out to the hiring manager and team to find out more, confirm if this is the best fit for you, and ask how you can add value to their team. Prepare for these informational interviews as if they were real job interviews! If you do it well, this will put you well ahead of other candidates.
Apply wisely. Select only a few, best-matching roles. In-house recruiters can see all your internal applications, so make sure you’re only applying for roles you really want.
Method #2: Connecting with staffing agencies and recruitment firms
Headhunters, recruitment firms, and staffing agencies always look for the best talent for their clients. As such, they can provide invaluable assistance since they have direct insight into the job market and information about career opportunities that match your skills, experience, and goals.
So, don’t be afraid to reach out directly to recruitment companies in your target location. Many recruitment firms welcome applications from job seekers. In fact, proactive applications make their job easier! Your application adds one more talented person to their pool while their contacts get you closer to available job opportunities. It's a win-win!
Here's how you can make the most of this job search method when looking for a job abroad:
Prepare a list of staffing agencies in the country you want to move to. Write down contact details and find the best way to contact them. Some have an online form you can use, some prefer a direct email. Make sure to use the right method.
Never send a vague application saying only that you're open to work. They shouldn't be guessing and wasting their time deciding which role is the best for you on your behalf. Instead, be as specific as possible about your skills, target job opportunities, and preferred industries.
Have an “elevator pitch” ready that concisely summarizes your skills and why you're interested in working abroad.
Note: Before you reach out to any of them, polish your resume and social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. They will surely take a look and you want to make a good impression.
Method #3: Networking, networking, networking
People are more likely to hire someone they know and trust than a stranger. So, no matter how many online applications you send out, there’s no better job searching method than networking.
Your network is an invaluable asset when it comes to finding a job abroad. Leverage your contacts to connect with people in the country you want to move to—including your friends, family, mentors and colleagues. Get in touch with them, let them know what kind of opportunities you're looking for, and ask for their advice.
No matter how many online applications you send out, there’s no better job searching method than networking.
If you're close to them, openly ask them if they can help with your job search by connecting you to potential employers, introducing you to key people in their network or referring you for open positions at their companies. Alternatively, keep this conversation friendly and unbound, and simply ask your contacts to keep you in mind if they hear about job opportunities that might be suitable for you.
Networking template #1
Here's a template you can use to approach them:
It's been a while! How are you doing?
[Optional: Add a personalized note.]
As you know, I work as a [Job Title] at [Company]. After [x] years here, the time has come for a change!
I'm now looking for a [Seniority level & Title] position in [Location]. I'm specifically targeting [Target companies], but I would also consider other organizations. [Add any other relevant details].
Have you heard of any similar opportunities recently? If so, could you please share? I've also attached my resume in case you'd like to pass it along to your contacts.
Thanks so much for your help. Let me know how I can return the favor!
And because what you say and how you say it makes the biggest difference in job search, we have created the perfect guide for you. With more than 30 word-for-word email templates and real examples, you will send personalized messages to recruiters, hiring managers, and your network in no time. Get it here!
Also, you don't need to limit networking only to people you already know. Use social media and join local, professional networks and communities in the new country to build a wide network of new contacts.
Networking template #2
Here's a template you can use to approach someone working at your target company on LinkedIn:
I saw you joined [Company] [Period] ago. How do you like it?
[Company] is recruiting a [Job title] in [Location] and I'm looking to get some clarity before I apply. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on the company.
Networking template #3
Here's a template you can use to approach a recruiter at a company you'd like to join on LinkedIn:
I've been following [Company] for a while now and I'm very excited about the work you do in [Topic]. As a [Job title/Experience], I believe that I could make a valuable contribution to the team. I would love to connect and explore potential job opportunities.
Want more? Get access to all 30+ copy-paste email communication templates to navigate your job search journey with confidence and peace of mind.
Besides social media, you can also start attending events related to your field. This will help you build relationships with people who could help you later on, as they may know some job leads or have contacts that can help you find the perfect job abroad.
Method #4: Attending events and conferences
Getting well-integrated into your industry can open unique and unexpected career opportunities. There's no better way to do it than to attend industry events and conferences.
When searching for a job abroad, these events are a great opportunity to meet with other professionals who can provide valuable advice and assistance in your quest for international employment.
Good news: Many events and conferences are now happening online, with some being free of charge and open for everybody—all you need to do is sign up and join. Eventbrite and Meetup are great places to start.
So, how can you make the most of these events?
Make an effort to meet as many new people as possible. Even if the event is online, check who's attending and reach out to them after the event.
Try not only connecting with potential employers, but also build relationships with people who may not have hiring power directly, but could still help by introducing you to key contacts or referring your application further down the line.
Once at the event, ask questions, exchange ideas and information with fellow attendees, share your experiences, and engage in meaningful conversations.
You never know which of these interactions can lead to a potential job opportunity or who can provide valuable insight into the job market and become a key player in your job search abroad.
You never know which interaction can lead to a potential job opportunity or who can provide valuable insight into the job market and become a key player in your job search abroad.
Method #5: Joining professional associations and organizations
Similarly to industry events and conferences, joining professional associations and organizations can open a lot of doors in your target industry and chosen location.
They often have access to exclusive job postings and career-related information, meaning you can receive updates on the latest job openings before they become public. Besides that, many of these groups offer educational materials and resources, professional certifications or other helpful services related to your field.
Wondering where to find them?
A great way to start is by doing an online search for professional organizations in the industry and country of interest. Alternatively, you can look at your local contacts — chances are they may be a part of one or know how to join these organizations.
When you find professional associations and organizations you're interested in, join their email lists, follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters to stay up to date with job postings and other opportunities.
Method #6: Attending job fairs
Put yourself out there and attend job fairs in the country you want to move to.
They are usually packed with employers looking for candidates and provide an excellent opportunity to make professional connections, network, and find a job abroad. While many of them are still in-person, there are multiple online careers fairs you can attend, if you are unable to travel to your target country.
Take advantage of the chance to talk directly with recruiters and hiring managers. Ask them questions about their company or industry they work in. Above all, use these job fairs as an opportunity to learn more about how the job market works in a new country and how employers think when it comes to hiring foreign talent.
Remember that job fairs are packed with job seekers, so do this to stand out:
Prepare multiple copies of your well-polished resume. Give employers you're interested in a copy and ask how you can follow up with them.
Most conversations there will look like informational interviews. Be prepared to talk about your experience and how you could become a valuable part of their organization to make the best impression.
Finally, follow up with a thank you note after the job fair. It's an effective way to make sure that they remember you and your interest in their company.
Method #7: Leveraging social media
Social media is an invaluable tool for job seekers looking to find a job abroad. With the ability to search and connect with potential employers, recruiters, and industry professionals from all over the world, you can easily expand your professional network beyond borders.
The key is to find the right channels and use them strategically. Here's how to use social media to get connected with international employers and find available job opportunities:
LinkedIn offers a job search feature that allows you to target relevant jobs in your chosen location. You can also use it to find and connect with recruiters, hiring managers, and industry professionals in your new country. Plus, you can join relevant groups and participate in discussions related to your field.
Search for Facebook groups related to the industry or job you're looking for. You can also search for expat groups at your target destination. They often have job postings and provide a great networking opportunity.
Use Twitter to connect with companies, recruiters, and hiring managers, follow industry influencers, and stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends in your field. It's also a great platform to promote yourself. Join relevant conversations and share valuable content to get noticed. Don't forget to search for job postings and use hashtags like #jobsinX (X can be a specific location or industry).
Instagram is often overlooked by job seekers, but it can actually be a great way to connect with employers. Similar to Twitter, you can use relevant hashtags, like #internationaljobs, #jobsabroad or #jobsin**(your chosen country, city, or industry)** to find job postings related to your field.
Remember – social media can be a powerful tool in your job search abroad, but it's important to use it wisely. Keep your profile professional and up-to-date, be authentic and network with purpose.
Important: Don't ruin your chances of landing a job with sloppy email communication throughout your job search or a hiring process. Get this ebook with 30+ job search email templates and navigate your way through a job search without a hitch.
Don’t slow down your job search and miss out on amazing job opportunities abroad by limiting your search to online job postings.
From attending job fairs to making use of social media, there are many alternative and effective job search methods that you can use to get connected with international employers and find the perfect job for you.
Here are the most effective yet often overlooked job searching methods that can help you find a job abroad:
Exploring internal job opportunities.
Connecting with staffing agencies and recruitment firms.
Attending events and conferences.
Joining professional associations and organizations.
Attending job fairs.
Leveraging social media.
Be open to exploring alternative job search strategies, stay creative and proactive, and make the most of each interaction and application.
Regardless of the method you choose, the key to success is making sure that you are well-prepared and able to showcase how your skills and attributes can benefit a company or organization abroad. With good preparation and a bit of luck, you'll have a job offer in your dream country in no time.
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Matilda Patsou & Ana Colak-Fustin
Matilda and Ana, the founders of MoreThanCareers, are expats, international corporate recruiters and HR professionals with 18+ years of combined HR experience. Since 2018, our career-building techniques, tools and resources have helped over 500 coaching clients and 8,000 individuals worldwide land new, more fulfilling, higher-paying and career-changing jobs.